Here’s a poorly kept surfing secret: winter is the best time to ride waves.
The reason is that winter waves are more reliable than summer swells. The less Northerly winds mean the swell is smoother and cleaner than in summer months, so it’s easier to catch a break and ride a wave into the beach.
But there’s a catch; winter surfing, as with any other cold-water surfing, creates the ultimate conundrum: the brisk offshore winds groom the waves into frigid and unbearable conditions.
The water temperatures drop considerably, and depending on the conditions; the surfing conditions can get anywhere from slightly uncomfortable to downright deadly.
But you shouldn’t let the cold keep you from enjoying this bounty.
You can choose warm.
See, cold-climate surfers have it tough, but you can always get away with it by choosing more gear.
With a generous helping of gloves and the right mix of gear, you’ll quickly forget all about the hypothermia-inducing temperatures.
Now, while the regular scuba diving gloves might give you some protection while surfing, they don’t cut it and won’t really do the job.
Instead, we would suggest the best wetsuit gloves.
Also known as surf gloves, the wetsuit gloves are specifically made for surfing, and we love them because they strike a fine balance between warmth and flexibility.
Unlike the traditional gloves, the surfing gloves keep you warm while giving you the flexibility and dexterity you need to move your fingers and hands.
Even better, if you find the right mix of gear and gloves that is thick enough to keep the chill-out and give you freedom of movement, you’ve hit the sweet spot to score all winter long.
But with so many options to pick from, how do you choose the right surf glove?
We’re here to help; in the guide below, we share some of our recommendations.
Table of Contents
The Best Surf Gloves For The Money
#1 O’Neill Psycho Double Lined Surf Glove - EDITOR'S CHOICE
Our first pick, the O’Neil Psycho, is by far our best-selling glove over the past couple of years.
It’s a practical option, aptly engineered to offer sufficient warmth and protection while surfing.
As with all Psycho Tech series, this option also delivers in every category.
But in my opinion, what makes the O’Neil Double Glove a popular choice among surfers is its all-around dependability and versatility.
Let’s start with protection, for example.
The O’Neill Psycho Tech Gloves are available in 2 versions; the 3mm and 1.5mm. The former is ideal for open water swims with a water temperature of 52º and above. It keeps your hands warm, nice, and snug.
On the other hand, the 1.5mm version is less thick, and while it’s not a savior in the extremely cold waters, it’s still a decent option for the warmer summer waters. Its strongest suit, however, is the amazing hand control and dexterity, which we shall see later.
Both O’Neil gloves are made out of Ultra Flex Neoprene as the base material.
Neoprene is a nice choice of material for water gloves, and I regularly wear these gloves when in rougher or colder waters, so my hands don’t ache/stiffen.
The material is also robust, allowing you to apply a swim thrust, yet it’s supple enough for easy hand control.
But it’s the engineering and technology for us.
O’Neil has really knocked the ball out of the park with the construction. For example, all the seams are glued and blind stitched and feature a sealant on the surface. The result is a waterproof and durable glove will keep the chilly water out, while surviving the constant abrasions and scrapes.
Additionally, there’s an internal wrist gasket, which forms the seal. It makes the glove a little bit difficult to put on and take off, but it’s a nice addition for preventing cold water from gushing in through the gloves.
We also love the long cut, which lets the neoprene gloves wear further up past the wrist into your swimsuit. This longer cut not only feels better, but alongside the wrist gasket, it ensures a more watertight fit at the wrist so you won’t get flushed easily.
While keeping your hands warm and free from wetness, the neoprene material offers a tacky grip on the palm, sufficient for offering strength for holding the board while surfing. If the user reviews are anything to go by, the grip on these bad boys is just as good as your naked hand, so much that you’ll probably forget you’ve them on.
Surfers of all sizes will also love that O’Neil is available in all sizes, so it’s easy to get a good pair that fits your hands perfectly. I would highly recommend the O’Neil for users with really small hands as they’re even available in XXS.
Plus, the material is stretchable, so the glove sits flush and will stick to your hands without causing any discomfort.
Overall, if you’re looking for a practical, comfortable, and wet-free surfing experience, you can never go wrong with the O’Neil Psycho Double-Lined gloves.
They’re versatile as gloves get, and with an option of two different thicknesses, you can slip it up to your hands on a cold day or warm summer season and surf throughout.
#2 RIP Curl Flash Bomb 5 Finger Glove - Best Neoprene Gloves
The RIP Curl Flash Bombs gloves are my faves!
They’re a one-of-a-kind glove that keeps my hands fairly warm in cold waters for long periods while allowing a good grip on my board.
Their new and improved E5 Neoprene also makes the glove among the most comfortable and warmest gloves in the market.
RIP’s trump card, however, is their cold-water adaptability; ideally, temperatures below 50 degrees.
The reason is the Curl Flash Bomb is available in two versions, both with a thickness that can support the chilly and frigid waters.
For example, the 5mm version is as thick as gloves can get and will let you on the depths of coastal waters such as those on the North East, Great Lakes, or Alaska.
The 5mm works well, and my body runs warm. But for me, I’ve found the 3mm versions great, considering that I don’t surf in frigid conditions. Plus, the 3mm isn’t bulky either and will maintain the warmth while allowing me to have better finger control.
Either way, with two glove versions, you can never miss out on surfing in different conditions. Whether you need to surf in frigid Alaska or the warm summer months, you’ll get an option for your needs.
The guys at Rip Curl have also done a commendable job of ensuring a wet-free surfing experience. We love how the glove utilizes a thin, stretchy cuff and a small internal water barrier that reduces water flush within the glove.
Additionally, the inner wrist is sealed with Aquaman sealant and has a low-profile heated tape, ensuring the glove can take on anything you throw at it. The glove doesn’t rip easily and will handle the cuts and abrasions like a champ.
Holding your surfing board or adjusting to your wetsuits shouldn’t be an issue with the Rip Curl. The reason is it features a textured gel palm, which is tacky.
While the gel surface looks a bit stiff, it’s actually quite supple and shouldn’t pose any flexibility issue. For example, I can zip my wetsuit perfectly or even adjust my surfing googles with less hassle.
Another thing we loved with this glove is the unusual slightly fuzzy lining (E5 flash dry-lining), which is noticeably warmer, and when turned inside-out, it helps speed up the drying time.
*Tip- Fill your neoprene gloves with warm water before hitting the waters. It not only helps in keeping the initial blast of cold water from rushing in the beginning, but it makes donning the wetsuit gloves a lot easier. Your hands will thank you for it!
#3 Picasso Dyneema Gloves - Best for Flexibility
The Picasso Dyneema Gloves aren’t the thickest wetsuit gloves and won’t save you from the coldest of oceans.
While warmth is certainly not Dyneema’s strongest suit, it blew our minds off with their flexibility.
They’re quite seamless and fit nicely while allowing more free movement of my fingers to hold or grip things.
Simply put, you won’t feel as you’ve a glove on your hand as they offer the same experience as the naked hand.
Now, with such a level of dexterity, it’s easy to imagine they’re not durable as protective as other wetsuit gloves.
Sure, they’re so thin and may not be saviors in the frigid ocean waters, but they work well in the medium-temp waters.
But the point of the Dyneema single-thread glove is to offer abrasion and cut-resistance. See, Dyneema is the world’s strongest fiber and will effectively protect you from cuts and scrapes you may encounter underwater.
While maintaining extra durability, these durable gloves are thin, so much that you can feel the objects you’re holding.
Although Picasso Dyneema is the primary material on this glove, there’s also a polyurethane mesh layer on the palm area and fingers. It plays an important role in increasing the extra grip. This way, you can hold your board and other slippery objects with much strength.
These heavy-duty gloves are also comfortable to wear, and while the fitting isn’t too perfect, it’s available in four sizes, and with adjustable Velcro straps, so you can always choose the ideal size.
According to some users, the gloves are larger than the standard dimensions, and this means if you’ve smaller hands, the gloves are likely to let some water flow in.
Overall, the Picasso Dyneema has some serious limitations, especially when it comes to warmth and cold protection.
It’s ultra-thin and might not be the best choice for taking on the frigid water conditions,
But that doesn’t make it any less than other gloves on our list. If anything, it makes up for the warmth shortcoming with flexibility and strength.
Picasso Dyneema is a great pick for surfers who need a durable and reliable glove that will protect their feeble hands against abrasions and cuts.
It’s also an incredible pick for those who need a glove offering unmatched dexterity, hand and finger control.
#4 H2Odyssey Max Webbed Glove - Unique Thicker Gloves
Want a unique glove for surfing that will make you stand out?
Consider the H2Odyssey Max 2MM Webbed Paddle Glove.
It’s a webbed paddle glove, utilizing Sharkskin, a synthetic leather, offering a good grip and works well for daily use.
The Sharkskin palm material is better than the typical rubber stuff and will really help with the ‘final commitment’ when catching waves. Meanwhile, neoprene rubber is tacky enough, so you’re less likely to slip off the rails and injure your ribs when getting up.
At the back, we’ve Lycra, which helps with the glove’s stretchability, especially when surfing in the water. Lycra is also good at avoiding sunburn on your hands, and they hold up well.
H2Odyssey’s main highlight, however, is the webbed glove design. It’s a nice design, especially for users without sticking fingers, allowing them to paddle powerfully in water and move ahead with minimum energy.
I wouldn’t say the design is revolutionary, but they provide a little more speed, especially in current. Of course, you’ll still need to paddle, and they’re an excellent tool for muscle workouts as its web design increases the resistance in the water.
H2Odyssey also has a Velcro strap for closure, so fit should be the least of your concerns. Though my hands are small, these wetsuit gloves fit nicely and feel as if they were made for me.
Additionally, the gloves are available in all sizes, so the size of the palm matters less. Surfers with big and small hands praise the glove for its unmatched fit.
When it comes to finger control, this glove doesn’t fail either. While the design may seem like a limitation, it’s actually easy to pick most things up with these on. The PVC coating on the underside is tacky and offers a better grip on the surfer.
All said and done, a surfing glove’s performance is determined by how well it protects surfers from cold.
Fortunately, H2Odyssey Max Paddle Glove doesn’t fail in this department.
At a 2mm thickness, these gloves strike a balance between flexibility, it, and warmth.
They may not be a savior in the frigid conditions, but they’re an incredible option for the warm summer water conditions.
More importantly, they offer unmatched dexterity, perfect for not only grabbing your surfboard but also for other water activities such as adjusting swimming gear or grabbing and using your water camera.
#5 Rip Curl Dawn Patrol Gloves - Best Pair for the Money
Our last pick, the Dawn Patrol Gloves, offers the best value purchase.
These wetsuit gloves are not only affordable, but they’re comfortable, too, and as tough as nails.
One of Patrol’s highlights is what Rip Curl calls “Shark Skin Mesh” Neoprene. It’s a flexible Neoprene mesh rubber, and aptly named the shark, this outer layer feels strong and gritty to the touch,
It can take a beating and protect your hands against the scraping, rubbing, and cuts you may encounter underwater.
At the same time, it’s tacky, especially on the palm area and on the fingers. The grip is useful in letting you hold your board with greater strength. Additionally, it lets you manage other items, such as adjusting your swimsuit’s zip with greater efficiency.
The cold water won’t be on your radar with 3mm of warm, flexible neoprene cradling your fingers. Dawn Patrol Gloves provide better insulation; feel warm, cushy, and nice, even when used in cold waters.
Of course, with such a level of thickness, we’ve seen some users complain about too much warmth, but it’s nothing you can’t handle in warm and moderate conditions.
It’s a thick glove, yes, but it doesn’t affect the overall dexterity. When in use, the glove is a flexible ad, you won’t feel as if you’ve anything on you.
The other highlight most surfers love with this glove is the O-ring seal. Dawn Patrol features one of the most advanced wrist seals we’ve seen to date, and this is nice in preventing water from pooling into the gloves from water.
Comfort also defines the Dawn Patrol Neoprene glove as it sits tight and flushes on your hands just as it should.
It’s durable, too, with the sealed seams and Blind-Stitched/liquid taped helping the glove resist wear against abrasive surfaces while offering the surfers excellent protection.
Best Wetsuit Gloves Buying Guide
Gloves come in different gloves styles and different characteristics, and choosing the ideal option for your needs can be challenging.
But in the section below, we’ll look at everything you should know before selecting the best wetsuit gloves for your needs.
But before we look at these critical factors, it’s prudent we start by understanding the different types of wetsuit gloves.
3 Styles of Gloves
Gloves for surfing are primarily categorized depending on their design.
The three surf glove styles are:
The 5-finger is a classic and most popular surf glove style.
It’s a popular option because it allows full dexterity of each finger, and out of all styles, it’s the most maneuverable and feels natural.
Mittens separate all your four fingers from the thumb. They’re best used for surfers in icy water as they offer maximum warmth.
While mittens do a great job of retaining body heat than any other style, the tradeoff is they’re clumsier.
The lobster claws are the middle child that aims to give the best features of both the 5-finger glove and mittens.
These gloves are made to separate the index finger and thumb from the rest of the glove. This way, they let you easily grab your board/rail while trapping the maximum amount of body heat.
Factors to Consider when Selecting the Best Wetsuit Gloves
Now that we know and understand the different types of gloves consider the critical factors to consider when selecting the best wetsuit glove.
Glove Thickness: What Surf Glove Thickness Do I Need?
Obviously, thicker wetsuit gloves will keep you warm. But it comes at a cost; thicker gloves impair your finger’s dexterity and block your control from using the gloves effectively.
The thickness of the glove will ultimately depend on the type of waters you’re surfing. Of course, in warmer waters of the temperature of about mid-50s and up, gloves will be more of a personal preference.
Here’s a breakdown of the glove thickness and the conditions they’re best suited for:
1, 1.5 to 2mm gloves
These surfing gloves are ideal for the warmer waters (60-45° F), and it’s generally about as thin as gloves come.
They don’t provide protection from cold but offer great dexterity and enhance user control.
These are ideal for the High 50’s-40° F and may be the ideal choice for areas like Canada and the East Coast during the spring and fall.
These wetsuit gloves are most suitable for the colder areas of the coast like the North East, Great Lakes, or Alaska.
The 5mm gloves are generally ideal for conditions in the range of 55-35° F.
The 7mm gloves are as thick as surfing gloves can get.
These thick gloves are ideal for the most frigid waters on Earth.
These gloves are made tough and will keep you in the freezing waters for extended periods.
Generally, it’s only mittens in this category, but that is what you would want if you want to surf through the depths of winter.
Dexterity and Control
As much as we need to keep warm, surfers also need to have control.
Basically, a glove should give you the ability to stretch all your fingers comfortably, regardless of the thickness.
For example, if you’re surfing, glove control, especially grip, is important in the palm side instead of the fingers to make it easier for you to fold your hands into a fist.
Size and Length
Choosing the right-fitting surf glove requires you to check the measurement guide.
It’s best if you can try to see if they fit you well.
Keep in mind some gloves, especially those made of neoprene stretch, but not so much, so you don’t have to buy one size smaller because of that.
When picking the right size, avoid gloves that are too tight as they may constrict the blood flow, make your hands go numb, and the feeling of wearing them is extremely uncomfortable.
On the other hand, having loosely fit gloves will have water flowing in each time and cooling you off, which is again something you want to avoid if you’re looking for warmth.
Best Surf Gloves Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What are the best surfing gloves?
A: The best surfing gloves are comfortable, reliable and should provide you with all the protection against cold and physical injury.
Q: How thick should surf gloves be?
A: The thickness of a glove depends on the conditions you’ll be surfing in. Generally, the thicker the glove, the more warmth it provides. Keep in mind glove thickness comes at the expense of hand controls.
Q: Do I need surfing gloves?
A: Yes, you definitely need gloves to keep warm and prevent physical injury.
Q: Do webbed gloves help surfing?
A: Depending on your surfing style, the webbed gloves may come in handy when pushing water backward to gain momentum.
Q: How do I keep my Neoprene gloves clean?
A: You simply need to hand wash them as you do your delicate clothing. But first, ensure you rinse all the dirt before soaking. Let them Air Dry and it’s recommended to keep them from direct sunlight.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our list of the best surfing gloves is the O’Neill Psycho Tech 3mm.
We choose this option because it ticks on all the boxes for the best glove.
It’s super reliable, standing up to all types of abuses. O’Neill Psycho Tech 3mm is also comfortable, and more importantly, it offers protection against frigid waters without compromising on flexibility and user control.